This book describes the power base of each of the Soviet leaders and analyzes the steps they took to consolidate their positions and tighten controls over the bureaucracy and the military. It provides a detailed analysis of the hidden power struggle within the top Soviet leadership.
1. Introduction 2. Succession in the USSR: Brezhnev's Twilight and Death 3. Andropov Succeeds: Rudimentary Consolidation 4. Andropov's Eclipse: Ruling by Remote Control 5. The Second Chance: Chernenko Succeeds, the Twofold Decision 6. Too Late, Too Short: Chernenko Rules 7. The Smooth Succession: Gorbachev at the Helm 8. Clearing Away the Debris: The Second Front 9. Closing the Circle—The Congress 10. Conclusions